The Cultural History of the Candlestick (Part 1)

Feb. 23, 2020

Diamond crystals candle holder supplier to share with you: The cultural and archeological circles are accustomed to calling the bronze oil lamps unearthed from the Han Tomb as bronze candlesticks, which is extremely rigorous. Current archeological findings do not fully prove that candles existed in the Han Dynasty.

Study the history of metal wall candle holders and find that they are closely related to Chinese porcelain and Buddhism. A small candlestick that carries a long history of civilization or culture is very interesting.


Candle is candle, wax is wax

Candles in Chinese characters are candles, and wax is wax. It is not the same thing. At least in the literature of the Three Kingdoms, the word candle was not available. For example, "Yi Li" has the words "Fire is on the ground, and the candle is held." And "The candle is on the western stage." No wax and candles.

The glyph shape of the candlestick is a pictographic bronze oil lamp. Because animal oil is used for fuel lighting, the bug character is emphasized. The earliest wax was bee hive, a boiled extract. Both can burn, but the history of oil lamps is much earlier than that of wax lamps.

Metal Wall Candle Holders

Metal Wall Candle Holders

Bronze oil lamps were commonly used as early as the Shang Dynasty. When did bronze wax lamps appear?

"The Excavation Report of the Tomb of the King of Nanyue of the Western Han Dynasty" said that the yellow wax cake first appeared in the tomb of Guangzhou Han in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. Yellow wax cakes are beeswax cakes. It is made into a cake, which shows that it is still used in bronze oil lamps instead of animal fats as fuel, not later candles. So we saw yellow wax cakes in the late Eastern Han Dynasty, but we didn't see candlesticks at that time.

Although we are not sure whether there are candles or not in the late Eastern Han Dynasty, starting with the use of yellow wax cake means that the era of candles is certain to come. Wax can burn, but no oil is good, but wax can be solidified, which is convenient for storage and transportation.

If there is wax, there will be candles. It may initially have been mixed with wax and animal fat, because animal fat burns better than wax. Slowly mastered the technique of mixing wax and grease to make solid candles, and then candles appeared. Candles are obviously more expensive than animal fats, and popularization depends on the overall strength of the social economy. Documents show that in the Song Dynasty, Kou Zhun was a rich young man, had a good dinner at night, and did not light oil lamps, burning candles all night. The taste here is a little bit dazzling. We can see that in the Song Dynasty, candles were still more expensive than oil lamps.


Candle and Celadon Meeting

The emergence of the true meaning of the candle should be the period of the Three Kingdoms. Although burning candles are more expensive than oil lamps, in the war years, candles are more convenient to carry and use during marches. War may be the reason for the birth of candles. The earliest true candlestick found today is the celadon candlestick from the Three Kingdoms period.

Interestingly, the present archeological findings show that the appearance of candles is almost synchronized with the appearance of porcelain. Although there were green glazes and black glaze ceramics in the Han Dynasty, strictly speaking, they can only be regarded as intermediate products of pottery or pottery over porcelain. .

By the time of the Three Kingdoms, the Northern and Southern Dynasties, celadon technology was very mature, and it was close to the level of porcelain. That's why we are used to calling Han the green glaze and the Three Kingdoms later the celadon.

Among the celadon wares unearthed during the Three Kingdoms, the Southern and Northern Dynasties, many are celadon candlesticks. The candlesticks that actually started using candles.

It is found that the earliest candlesticks are actually celadon products, not bronzes. This may be because porcelain making technology has matured, or because of the war years, bronze is more used to make weapons and war equipment, porcelain instead of bronze to make daily necessities has become an inevitable choice for society.

This period was an important period for China's transition from bronze civilization to porcelain civilization, and also an important period for the birth of candles and replacement or partial replacement of oil lamps. The inter-era meeting of celadon and candles tells a story of the changing times and a story of the technological revolution of the times.